With the fly tying season well into stride, my fly tying classes featured a week on using CDC.
The students were amazed when I did the powerpoint presentation which showed close up views of the cdc, which enabled them to see why cdc had the floating properties.
CDC itself is a bunch of plumes that are around the preening gland of the duck and it was explained that this was a way of the duck or drake to transfer the oil from the gland onto the beak so the duck can apply it to the surrounding feather to water proof and condition them.
There was a discussion that the oil was the main property of enabling the feather to float.
When the diagrams of the cdc were shown to them they understood it was not the oil but the structure of the feather, with the barbules and helicoils that trapped the air
With this in mind i also explained that cdc was a fantastic feather for using on flies such as bumbles, irish mayfly patterns and nymphs, as when the feather becomes water logged it created movement in the fly and on a mayfly nymph it cloaked the whole fly to create a fantastic shape when pulled through the water.
An emerger pattern was tied up to show them that this could be fished dry or wet.
Next pattern shows how the cdc can be incorporated into a traditional Irish bumble and a black pennell
Finally a traditional Mayfly pattern was tied using cdc as an under hackle as this meant you could cast the fly out onto the water to a rising fish and it would float , then you could always pull the fly and it would perform like any normal wet fly pattern.
Over the year of 2014 i bleached and dyed up 15 different colors of cdc and have been using it on the majority of my patterns.
2015 will see the new designs using CDC on the jig hook patterns and various nymph patterns.
The first week of May 2015 will see me at the G.A.I.A event in the north of England where i will be carrying out demonstrations and hopefully a workshop on how to dress these and also the wire woven flies which have been a big succes.
So don't be afraid to bleach and dye cdc as the process does not affect the floating properties, well it does not on wild duck cdc so i cannot say the same process works on commercial white duck.
To date my customers have been delighted with the cdc and with 2 kilos of raw cdc in stock i have a lot of dyeing to do this winter, I hope this wee article is of help to you and if you need any help or advice feel free to get in contact.